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Republic of Ireland 0-0 Croatia: Match Report

10 Aug 2011 22:30:19

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Croatia: Match Report

The Republic of Ireland extended their unbeaten run to five games after playing out a goalless draw with Croatia at the Aviva Stadium.

The hosts, who had won all of their previous four fixtures, appeared fortunate not to give away a penalty in the first half as clumsy challenges in the box by Glenn Whelan and Stephen Kelly went unpunished.

They nearly broke the deadlock soon after when Shane Long saw his header kept out by goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, though, while Richard Dunne missed their best chance after the break.

The first chance of the contest fell to Stephen Hunt, whose miscued volley sent the ball harmlessly wide, and Darron Gibson shot straight at Pletikosa shortly after having been fed by Duff.

It was the visitors who then began to get forward, though, with Darijo Srna delivering a cross that was just too high for Niko Kranjcar and a corner which former Arsenal frontman Eduardo connected with, only to see his effort blocked by Long.

Whelan appeared to bundle Eduardo over in the area in the 13th minute but referee Tom Harold Hagen allowed play to continue, and Croatia certainly felt they deserved a penalty moments later when Ivan Strinic fell under the attentions of Kelly, yet the outcome was the same.

Long evaded his marker to race on to a pass but Dejan Lovren put the ball behind for a corner, which Sean St Ledger met but could only divert off-target. Kranjcar ballooned over again after getting on the end of Srna's low delivery, but Ireland finished the opening period strongly.

Keane stabbed a shot at Pletikosa having jinked into the box before St Ledger headed a corner wide. Modric tried something spectacular nine minutes after the restart but sliced his acrobatic effort.

Dunne was presented with what seemed a glorious opportunity with around 20 minutes to go when St Ledger crossed into the box, but having risen to connect with the ball, the Aston Villa defender was unable to direct his header towards goal.

With Simon Cox and Keith Treacy having then replaced Long and Damien Duff, Westwood kept out a shot by Croatia substitute Nikola Kalinic five minutes from the end as Ireland held on.


PA

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